Positive Impact of Working While Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits

One of the most common misconceptions Workers’ Compensation clients have is that returning to work at a lower wage than their pre-accident wage is a bad thing. Many people believe that an injured worker will be punished with the loss of their Workers’ Compensation benefits if they start a new job which is not true. Working while receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits is not only permissible but on some levels can benefit both the client and their case.

Take for example an injured worker earning $600.00 per week on average before suffering an on the job injury. Assuming the accident pulled the injured party from work with restrictions that their employer could not accommodate; this person would receive Worker’s Compensation benefits commensurate with their level of medical disability as follows:

100% Disabled (can’t work) $400.00 per week
75% Disabled (Marked) $300.00 per week
50% Disabled (Moderate) $200.00 per week
25% Disabled (Mild) $150.00 per week (statutory minimum)

Now consider that same injured party obtains a new job which pays them $300.00 per week. Assuming the reason this person couldn’t return to their job is due to restrictions which prohibited them from returning to their pre-accident job with current medical evidence to support this fact, they would be entitled to reduced earnings as follows:

Pre-Accident Wages $600.00 per week
– New Weekly Earnings $300.00 per week
= Difference in Earnings $300.00 per week
Reduced Earnings Benefit (2/3 difference) $200.00 per week

Using the scenario described, you can see that this person was able to both continue to collect benefits because of their injury and earn income by returning to the work force. If we consider someone with a Marked Disability, the benefit would be a weekly income of $300.00 in wages PLUS $200.00 in a reduced earnings benefit for an overall gross of $500.00 per week as opposed to only the Workers’ Compensation benefit. Using the same illustration, an individual with a moderate disability or less would see an increase of $300.00 per week by returning to work with no change to their Workers’ Compensation benefit.

Additionally, insurance carriers often argue with Workers’ Compensation attorneys about whether or not a partially disabled client is “attached to the labor market” with a job search. Working eliminates this argument altogether thereby insuring a client’s Workers’ Compensation benefits. Returning to the workforce also provides solace to many individuals which is another positive.

Please be advised that if you do return to work while receiving Workers’ Comp benefits you must notify your Segar & Sciortino attorney immediately so they can notify your Workers’ Compensation carrier as failure to advise of a return may be considered fraud.

Segar & Sciortino has served Western New York for over 30 years in the areas of Workers’ Compensation, Social Security Disability and Personal Injury (Accident) Law. If you have questions about your entitlement to reduced earnings or anything else related to your claim, call us at (585) 475-1100 or submit a form for a free consultation. Local experience you can trust to get the benefits you deserve.